Thursday, July 27, 2017

Come and meet Puss

It must be something in the ether. When I decided to add a pet in space to my latest WIP, Pets in Space 2 wasn't a thing - as far as I knew, anyway. I needed something new to add interest to my couple from Eye of the Mother, Tian and Brent. I loved Linnea Sinclair's furrzels in Games of Command, I loved the Pets in Space stories, so I decided to introduce a non-human to the action.

Puss isn't a pet per se. She's certainly a feline in appearance. Having loved and been loved by a few Siamese cats in my time, it stands to reason Puss is like one of those Oriental cats - sleek, short fur, triangular head, lean body. She has emerald eyes, though, and she's almost completely black, except for a small patch of white on her chest. That's a sort of fingerprint for her species - every individual's patch is slightly different.

The species is alien. They're called auralfangs, and they have a few characteristics which set them apart. Their long tails are prehensile, wonderful for their jungle natural habitat. They don't purr, or meow. They communicate telepathically, in colors. Puss does an excellent job of understanding human speech, but naturally, she can't respond in words. She's smart, though. Here's a snippet from the first draft of the story. (First draft - please ignore typos and such)

"What in hells happened there?" Brent sank into a chair.
"Looks like she can do what we can do, only better." Tian sat opposite him, while Puss took up a spot on the table between them. The auralfang's mental images were of reassurance. "We can reinforce a thought, but she touched them and they changed their minds. It was almost like watching a mind-wipe."
Brent stretched out his hand slowly and touched Puss. She pushed her head into his hand and he scratched under her chin. "She likes it." His lips stretched into a silly, goofy smile, like a little boy.
Tian smiled. "Most felines do. Did you ever have a pet?"
He shook his head. "Not with a father like mine. Have you noticed she's never made a sound?"
He was right. She'd never growled or meowed, never purred. "Maybe the mental thing is how they communicate with each other." Puss broadcast green. So that was right. "She just said yes."
Brent's eyes widened. "She spoke to you?"
"No. But the waves of color mean things. Soft mauves and pinks are soothing, murky reds and deep blacks are fear, blue is anger?" She waited for the green approval signal and got it. "And green is yes. Puss understands our speech and responds in color and images." Another wave of exuberant green. "This is one clever Puss." Tian smiled as the feline blinked at her. One more thing to check. "You changed what those two people wanted?" Another flood of green.
Brent straightened. "She can do that? Would she do that to us?"
The flood of green changed to a soft, bright red. Let's take that as no.
Tian held the auralfang's gaze. "But you could?"
The green swirled. A flash of red intruded. Yes and no? The cat sent an image of the ice bear, a Dron, a Yrmak, all overlaid with the distinctive shade of 'no' red. Then an image of Wong, with the green of 'yes'. And then Tian and Brent, with green and red.
"Wow. And she's been sending you this stuff all the time?"
"You're getting this, too?"
Brent nodded. "What do you think it means?"
"It doesn't work on aliens." Green.
"It does work on humans." Green
"She could affect us." Green and red.
Tian sat back. "I don't get it."
Puss's tail switched from side to side, then she pounced on Brent's hand and bit.
He snatched his hand away. "Bad Puss. Don't bite."
Puss gazed steadily at Tian, then back at Brent's hand. The substitute blood oozed, but Brent wasn't hurt. In moments the marks faded and the skin healed. "You didn't hurt him." Green.
Okay. Try this. "You can't hurt him." Green.
Oh shit. "She knows we're cyborgs." Green. Triumphant green. Puss pushed her head under Tian's hand.

So there you have it. A very clever alien feline has joined the fray. If people like her, she might be in other adventures. We shall see. 

For the Greater Good should be out around September.


  1. Awww, I love the auralfang, as well as how she communicates in telepathic color!

    I'm always happy to see more pets in space...and SFR. When we get to the point of traveling to the stars, I don't think we'll be leaving them behind. :)

    1. I suspect they'll be hidden in the baggage somewhere :)But that's not how she joined the party.


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